Recently the fine folks over at the B-Movie Podcast covered the mad little Mexican horror picture THE CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE (1961) and brought to my attention that there exists a longer version of the film. Regular show guest Juan of Fifth Dimension Films joined the podcasters and was able to detail the scenes that were cut out by the
United States distributor.
This was an eye opening conversation! There are a number of different sequences
cut and their removal reduces the running time of the feature by over 15
minutes – which is exactly what was wanted, of course. The shorter the film,
the easier it was to pair with another movie for the big double feature money.
The problem is that when you start hacking out big chunks of the film you run
the risk of making the story confusing or completely nonsensical which is what
happened with THE CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE.
In prep to listen to the B-Movie hosts talk about the movie I rewatched it for the first time in years and found that my less than stellar memories of it were accurate. The story lost me on more than one occasion with character motivations a mystery, unexplained information driving the plot forward and bizarre coincidences making things seem sillier minute by minute. There are more than a few moments when I was struggling to figure out whom certain characters were so that I could understand why they would be doing what they were doing! These detriments are a shame as the film’s central idea is pretty good and the sight of the three foot tall ‘dolls’ creeping around killing people is often chilling. But the missing pieces of the story are a major hindrance to enjoying the movie that can’t really be overcome by simple B-Movie love or grit!
The very good news is that it is now possible to see the full length version of this movie! That’s right! The Spanish language 86 minute longprint of it is now available and can be purchased from Fifth Dimension Films. The DVD has easy to read English subtitles and the image is far sharper than the crappy video copy I first saw over a decade ago. The benefit to seeing the entire movie is that you can finally figure out what is actually happening as well as how certain characters are related (!) and even discover a bit more motivation for the bad guy’s evil plan – even though it still doesn’t make too much sense. I can highly recommend checking out this disc and indeed their entire catalog. Juan has a huge collection of rare and hard to find movies over there that will make any B-Movie fan drool with desire. Where else are you gonna find FACE OF FIRE (1959), HAND OF DEATH (1962) or THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN (1957)? Go on over and check out Juan's site and tell him The Bloody Pit sent ya!